I know I only did the Bronica ETRS a few weeks ago but I have good reason for revisiting similar. Firstly, one of the reasons for this year long G.A.S. indulgence is to find what I like, how it might suit the direction of my hobby and fit my work flow. Second, my sister has asked if I could cover some photography at her wedding…NOT I might add as pro type photographer and while most will be shot on a digital I wanted to mix in some film. The Bronie s2 as a 6x6 would be easier than the ETRS's 4.5x6 when it came to composing the shots. Third, I have been questioning why I own 2 TLR's and would something a little different in MF give me fresh approach! Lets see…
With the wedding in mind and my complete terror of this responsibility I decided to shoot in a certain way, those closer to mid-range shots that would be required. Having several colour rolls, chemicals mixed I chose the dreaded colour for the first 2 rolls. NOT my comfort zone, both a little expired and have given me a headache before with colour shift. Roll 1 was Kodak Portra 160vc which I would shoot and develop as normal. An afternoon family day at Saltram House gardens in the sunshine would give me plenty of interesting possibilities. Roll 2, Kodak Portra 160nc which I would rate at 400asa and pre bath in Rodinal, something a few have been talking about on twitter recently. I also shot a 3rd roll as portrait practice, an FP4+ that I hoped to shoot on the day and roped my 2 available youngest in as models… I have included a few below.
I will admit this behemoth monster of a camera really caught my eye. She has sweet lines, classy chrome trim on the fat black body, no fuss, no batteries, just a straight up and honest MF SLR, 4lb in weight so heavy, but lovely in the hands. Easy to manoeuvre the focus ring on the 75mm Nikkor lens which at f2.8 is fast enough! Couple that with a shutter speed topping out 1000th and running down to 1 second there is ample play time right there! Removable film back for 120 & 220 with a Polaroid option out there I saw lots of fun ahead!
I really enjoyed using it, it felt playful, comfortable and quite different from the TLR. Small issue with the advance, wound on fine, frame spacing good on 12 of them but insisted on 2 false frames every roll that wound off! Odd, but talking today to an experienced repairer it is likely to be a quirk to that particular back and shouldn't present a problem. The results were however more concerning! I had missed focus across all rolls… not by a bit but by a few feet. Beautifully sharp but not where I wanted it! PANIC! I really thought I had lost the plot, maybe my eyes? Maybe I just wasn't seeing it right on the ground glass? Anyway today I had to assist Russell retrieve stuff from the above mentioned repairer who took a look at Big Bertha and immediately spotted that the critical focus was way off along with infinity focus, he can reset it so this isn't over just yet. I will keep you posted! In the meantime I shot most of the below pics knowing where I was focusing but to the unknown eye they are ok. Take a look.
Click below to see photos